GPR180 is a component of TGFβ signalling that promotes thermogenic adipocyte function and mediates the metabolic effects of the adipocyte-secreted factor CTHRC1

Nat Commun. 2021 Dec 8;12(1):7144. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-27442-x.


Activation of thermogenic brown and beige adipocytes is considered as a strategy to improve metabolic control. Here, we identify GPR180 as a receptor regulating brown and beige adipocyte function and whole-body glucose homeostasis, whose expression in humans is associated with improved metabolic control. We demonstrate that GPR180 is not a GPCR but a component of the TGFβ signalling pathway and regulates the activity of the TGFβ receptor complex through SMAD3 phosphorylation. In addition, using genetic and pharmacological tools, we provide evidence that GPR180 is required to manifest Collagen triple helix repeat containing 1 (CTHRC1) action to regulate brown and beige adipocyte activity and glucose homeostasis. In this work, we show that CTHRC1/GPR180 signalling integrates into the TGFβ signalling as an alternative axis to fine-tune and achieve low-grade activation of the pathway to prevent pathophysiological response while contributing to control of glucose and energy metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes, Beige / metabolism
  • Adipocytes, Brown / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism*
  • Glucose
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / genetics
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / genetics
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction* / genetics
  • Thermogenesis / genetics
  • Thermogenesis / physiology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • CTHRC1 protein, human
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • GPR180 protein, human
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Glucose